- Variety of hybrid and electric choices
- Normal, usable design
- Intuitive controls
- Very good hybrid fuel economy
- Cramped seating space
- Plug-in range not as good as some competitors
- Normal design may bore some
- Cargo space is diminished by battery pack
features & specs
The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq hybrids and plug-ins trade on affordability instead of luxury.
The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq bolsters its green cred this year with a bigger battery for its Electric edition, but the base hybrids still make the best case for value.
Mildly updated this year, the Ioniq Hybrid Blue remains one of the most efficient gas-powered vehicles on the road, and a more conventional car than the similar Toyota Prius. Ioniq Plug-In Hybrids are an easy step into any driver’s electrified future—but Ioniq Electric models, despite their gains, still don’t have the range of even Hyundai’s own Kona Electric crossover.
We give the Ioniq family a TCC Rating of 6.6 out of 10, with its strong value, warranty, and efficiency leading the way. It’s a likable car—more approachable than the latest Prius, and with similar efficiency. It starts with a friendly hatchback shape that’s utterly conventional. Want something daring and avant-garde? Look elsewhere, because each Ioniq, no matter the powertrain, knits together a sloping roof, a friendly face, and a simple-to-use cockpit, no visual clutter included.
Powertrains range from a 139-horsepower Ioniq Hybrid that can eke out 58 mpg on the EPA combined cycle, to a 29-mile electric-range plug-in hybrid, to the newly updated 170-mile electric edition. Hybrids have a low driving position and no-nonsense handling, but acceleration feels moderate at best. Past electric models have more scoot, but with a range of up to 170 miles they’re competitive with base Nissan Leafs, but not with 258-mile Kona Electric or 259-mile Bolt EVs—and Ioniq Electric models are only available in California and other ZEV-rule states.
The Ioniq shines at commuter duty, with its comfortable front seats and well-sorted cockpit. Rear-seat room gets compromised by the roofline, but cargo space swells to more than 26.5 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks fold down in Hybrid models. Crash-test scores have been good, and every Ioniq now comes with automatic emergency braking.
The $23,930 Ioniq Hybrid Blue is an extreme-couponing kind of value, with its power features and its 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. More expensive versions upgrade to 8.0- or 10.3-inch screens with navigation, leather upholstery, and a sunroof. We’d pay more for the Ioniq Plug-In powertrain—but would hold at the $30,230 SEL, where LED headlights become standard.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
The 2020 Ioniq cloaks its green creds in a tidy hatchback body.
The Hyundai Ioniq’s now-familiar hybrid technology wraps itself in a familiar hatchback body. Its tidy proportions wear handsome details—in marked contrast to the avant-garde Prius—and its cockpit glows with flourishes of high-definition displays. We give it a 6 for styling, with an extra point for a well-detailed body.
The Ioniq family has a leg up on rivals that have strayed into stranger styling territory—we’re looking at you, Prius and Clarity and even Leaf. The Hyundai hatchback’s pert shape has the best balance of all the small hybrid hatches, and it wears details like discreet jewelry. The nose on hybrids adopts a new mesh grille this year, while Electrics have a distinct pattern on their face. Fresh front and rear ends with LED headlights and taillights retain the Ioniq’s sweeping lines and its tasteful proportions—which admittedly cost it some rear-seat head room while they help it deliver in aero efficiency.
Plain but perfectly functional, the Ioniq cockpit doesn’t embrace a radical futuristic look like the Prius Prime. It’s a conventional workplace with rules for where things belong and how they should look, and that’s fine. The everyday economy-car look coordinates well with the driving experience—it’s a normal-looking car that drives normally. Of course, higher-end models can be awash in digital displays for the driver and for the central infotainment interface, and in one concession to the touchscreen-happy present, the Ioniq’s parking brake and shift controls are operated by buttons and touch controls, not levers.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
The Ioniq trades entertainment for efficiency—and we approve.
Not every new vehicle can be a Miata-like lawn dart on canyon roads. Sometimes efficiency reigns supreme—as it does in Insights and Priuses, and in the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq.
It’s a game of give and take that succeeds, more so this year with the Ioniq Electric’s longer battery range. We give the family of Ioniq hatchbacks a 4 for performance, based on the Hybrid’s puttering acceleration and average ride and handling.
The Ioniq Hybrids team a 104-horsepower 1.6-liter inline-4 with a 43-hp (32-kw) electric motor and a 1.56-kwh lithium-polymer battery. It nets out at 139 hp sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. In practice that translates into moderate acceleration that’s never raucous or unrefined. The Ioniq Hybrid doesn’t feel slow, because the car’s overall weight of about 3,000 pounds is still relatively low. Fuel economy is about the same regardless of driving style, so there’s no reason to be delicate with the gas pedal.
To maximize efficiency, Hybrids have paddle controls to control regenerative braking. It’s a well-blended system that recaptures energy shed during braking, and Hyundai manages the transitions between motors, the dual-clutch automatic, and friction brakes well.
Ioniq Plug-In Hybrids share the same powertrain, but battery size rises to 8.9 kwh, which means similar acceleration but an electric-only driving range of up to 29 miles.
Hyundai’s focus on making a hybrid in which ride and handling aren’t remarkable—unless you consider the perfectly normal driving feel despite the Ioniq’s high-tech smoothie of batteries and motors. With their multi-link rear suspension and a range of 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheels and low-rolling resistance tires, the Ioniq Hybrids still have a friendly driving feel accentuated by a lower center of gravity, thanks to its battery placement.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Electric models are powered by a 134-hp motor that gets its juice from a 38.3-kwh lithium-polymer battery, up from 28 kwh in 2019. A new 7.2-kw charger replaces the 6.6-kw unit on the prior version. This package is now good for up to 170 miles of range, up from 124 miles—and it’s now rated at 133 MPGe, down slightly from 136 MPGe. Hyundai says it can be charged to 80 percent in under an hour on a 100-kw fast-charger.
We haven’t driven the new Electric model, but acceleration should be offset between the power gain and the BEV’s weight increase of about 300 pounds, to 3,488 pounds. The electric model’s larger battery pack requires shallower packaging of a torsion-beam rear axle. We’ll have more to report when we can schedule a test drive of the revamped model.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
Comfort & Quality
The Ioniq’s sleek roof cuts into passenger space.
Slightly smaller than rivals such as the Toyota Prius, the 2020 Ioniq doesn’t have a spacious back seat, but front passengers relax in comfort, and the hatchback body can bring a lot of stuff along for the ride. We give it a 6 for comfort and utility.
Though front passengers sit low in the Ioniq, the seats themselves have thick bolsters and grippy fabric (leather upholstery comes with the most expensive models). The Ioniq’s cabin is wide, too, which gives it more shoulder space than its low, short body might seem ready to deliver.
The back seat’s good for two medium-sized adults, and not more. Head room is the issue: The Ioniq’s sloping roof cuts into back-seat space, though these seats also are mounted low. They do fold forward for improved cargo space—the Ioniq already has 26.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats (it’s 23 cubic feet in battery-equipped Plug-In and Electric models).
The Ioniq’s 6-speed dual-clutch transmission also helps keep most stray engine noises under wraps, even through heavy acceleration. The cabin is quieter than most, and the engine’s revving is not intrusive. The cabin has lots of plastic trim, but for all it offers in efficiency and price, it’s a fair trade.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
Crash testing isn’t complete, but the Ioniq has fared well so far.
The IIHS gave the Hyundai Ioniq to marks for crash safety, but so far the NHTSA hasn’t crash-tested one. We’ll hold off rating it for safety until all the data is in.
All Ioniqs now have active lane control, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitors are available, as is adaptive cruise control on more expensive versions.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
A rejiggered lineup doesn’t mar the Hyundai Ioniq’s rep for generous features.
The 2020 Ioniq Hybrid comes in four different models, the plug-ins in three. With plenty of standard features, good infotainment, and a generous warranty, we give it an 8 for features, and steer shoppers toward the less-expensive models.
The $23,930 Ioniq Hybrid Blue is an exceptional value, priced like a Corolla Hybrid. It comes with automatic emergency braking, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, 15-inch wheels, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual climate control, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
The $25,880 Ioniq SE sports LED running lights, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch instrument display, while the $29,130 SEL gains LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a power sunroof, leather upholstery, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The $31,930 Limited gets Harman Kardon audio.
Plug-ins come in three versions, with features that line up for the most part with hybrids. The $27,230 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid SE has adaptive cruise control, while the $30,230 SEL gets LED headlights. The $33,680 Ioniq Limited has a 10.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Harman Kardon audio. The Ioniq Electric is equipped like the plug-in hybrid, and costs $34,020 for the SE or $39,590 for Limited trims, including destination but before any applicable federal or state tax breaks.
All Ioniqs come with Hyundai’s 5-year/60,000-mile limited vehicle warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
From green to very green to greenest, the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq family gets progressively more electric.
Hyundai claims to have one of the most efficient gas-powered cars on the road in its 2020 Ioniq, but things get even better.
We give the Ioniq a 9 for fuel economy, since its gas-electric model earns EPA ratings of 55 mpg city, 54 highway, 55 combined. But it gets better. In Blue trim, with lower rolling-resistance tires, the Ioniq rises to 57/59/58 mpg, which makes it one of the most stingy vehicles without a plug-in mode.
The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid takes up the cause from there. With a larger battery pack and a plug, the PHEV Ioniq can power through 29 miles on electric alone. When its gas engine kicks in, it can still turn in a 52-mpg combined rating, for a net of 119 MPGe.
This year, the Ioniq Electric gets a larger battery pack—it grows from 28 kwh to 38.3 kwh. That lifts its driving range from 124 to 170 miles, better than a base Nissan Leaf, and it rises to 133 MPGe. It can recharge to 80 percent in under an hour on a 100-kw fast-charger. Those numbers don’t come close to the 258-mile range of the Hyundai Kona Electric, though—and like the Kona Electric, the Ioniq Electric only is sold in states that have adopted California’s ZEV rules (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont).